Firm Expertise

Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet,


"Van" Van Fleet is a retired Army Colonel with over 47 years of Washington based advocacy experience.

Since 1981, he has represented the interests of many national and international corporations on marketing, regulatory and legislative matters before federal agencies and the U.S. Congress. From 1976 to 1981, “Van” was the manager of the Congressional Affairs Office for the Army's Chief of Research, Development and Acquisition. In a previous assignment in that same organization, he had legislative and programmatic responsibilities as the research and development community’s representative to the Army’s portion of the DOD’s Program Objective Memorandum (POM). “Van” graduated from West Point in 1958 (BS Civil Engineering) with a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Army and subsequently had a 23 year career as a Field Artilleryman having served in the U.S. and overseas to include Vietnam and Germany. In 1976, he graduated from the Army War College in Carlisle, PA and in that same year earned an MS Degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg State College.

Walt Sanders

Vice President Law & Government Relations

Counsel to the Van Fleet Management Group (VMG), Walt represents large and small corporations and non-profits before national, state and local governments.

Walt was formally, Co-Director, Federal Relations Group for Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, where he counseled clients on international trade, energy, transportation, environmental, product safety and drug enforcement issues. From 1995 to 2002, Walt served as Counsel to the Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), coordinating government relations, White House relations, regulatory, enforcement and legal issues.

As Counsel and Legislative Director for then-Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, John D. Dingell, Walt spearheaded legislative efforts involving international trade, transportation, environment, and education. Walt has an A.B. in Political Science (with Highest Honors), University of California Riverside; M.A. in Public Policy, Rutgers University; Juris Doctor, Washington College of Law at American University.

Regulatory Practice

At VMG, Walt Sanders maintains a practice in helping clients with issues before the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA). Walt previously served as Senior Counsel to the Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Walt is very involved in the national and international product safety community and currently serves on Events Planning Committee of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO).

Walt regularly helps companies seeking representation on product safety reporting obligations, recalls, regulatory compliance, product safety investigations, civil penalties, import investigations, internal compliance programs and training, the CPSC's public database, and other regulatory and enforcement matters involving the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), He assists clients with navigating complex product safety compliance issues and avoiding unwarranted recalls or enforcement actions. Walt also advises trade associations, testing laboratories, and various other types of clients on product safety issues and represents them before product safety regulators, FDA, EPA and Congress. With over 20 years of experience in product safety, including the representation of a wide range of consumer product industries and working in a senior leadership position at the CPSC, Walt is able to provide efficient and thorough advice on the full spectrum of product safety issues. Before joining the CPSC, Walt was a senior counsel to the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee where he worked on consumer safety, international trade, environmental and transportation issues.


Patrick Terrence Gaffney (Terry)

VFA Health and Biosciences Team Lead

Patrick Terrence Gaffney leads VFA Health and Biosciences Team

(Terry) brings an extraordinary diverse deep and unique skill set to VFA Government Affairs and Policy Consulting Practice . His years as a medical and scientific trial attorney, life science attorney, intellectual property attorney, pharmaceutical company executive, drug discovery & development advisor, and government affairs professional, provide his clients a gravitas and presence that goes far beyond the “Hill Experience Culture” in Washington, DC, providing additional technical and scientific expertise to VFA’s many years of legislative and regulatory abilities.. Terry solves his client’s problems and creates their opportunities based on his substantial knowledge of the medical and health care communities.

Terry designs, directs, and implements successful health care policy advocacy campaigns. He represents a wide variety of clients, with an emphasis on FDA regulation involving drugs and devices, patient advocacy organizations, medical waste disposal, PPE manufacturers & distributors, life science venture capital stakeholders, dietary supplements, cannabinoid drug discovery and development, distance learning stakeholders, health care informatics and predictive analytics, medical research and public health, children’s health, rare disease, patient-focused drug development, coverage and payment policy, and myriad other health care and policy concerns

Drug Development, Patient Data and Clinical Trials

His particular expertise is in regulatory science, where he leads initiatives for patient engagement in drug development and in the generation of value models for payment and coverage determinations. He advises on new tools and collaborations to deliver patient data and patient insights to inform and enable clinical development and access, including clinical trial design, endpoint confirmation, regulatory submissions and labeling, development of real world evidence, and benefit design. Drawing upon his understanding of health agency trends, law, ethics and practical funding challenges, Terry delivers advice and creative solutions that position clients to take advantage of the “future state” in the federal enterprise

He maintains strong relationships with key congressional health-focused committees. Terry has successfully represented client interests on nearly every significant piece of health care legislation over the past decade, including the 21st Century Cures Act, prescription drug user fee bills, numerous Medicare packages, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and a number of annual appropriations bills, particularly the Labor, HHS and Education spending bill.

In addition to representing clients before Congress, Terry engages with federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among others. He also has formed and directed a number of coalitions uniting diverse stakeholders around a common policy goal. He leverages his advertising and communications experience to develop compelling messages and materials and help clients secure earned media coverage of their issue to help advance their overarching policy goals. He also helps navigate crisis situations by advising on communications strategies and tactics

Terry is recognized across government, nonprofit, academic and industry sectors for his ability to drive public health and science policy strategies that advance mission and business purposes, all with a common aim of improving human health.